Interior Improvement Program

Encouraging the growth of a vibrant and thriving retail climate in downtown South Bend

DTSB has established an Interior Improvement Grant to encourage the growth of a vibrant and thriving retail climate in downtown South Bend by supporting new or relocating retail, entertainment, food and beverage based businesses who chose to occupy ground-floor commercial locations within the target area.

The Interior Improvement Grant is designed to enable new businesses to locate in the target area by helping to bridge the financial gap between property owner and tenant by providing financial assistance (up to $5,000) on qualified improvements to the interior of a tenant’s space. Existing businesses with a current location outside the target area who wish to move or open an additional location within the target area are also eligible. Property owners opening a new business may also apply.

The grant is intended to assist:
  • A new business locating within the target area
  • An existing business relocating to the target area from outside the target area
  • An existing business opening an additional location within the target area
The grant is not intended to assist:
  • Existing businesses within the target area and who wish to change locations
  • New construction
Who May Apply

Program applicants can be property owners or tenants of commercial buildings. However, property owners and affected tenants must both sign the Grant Application in order to participate in the program.

Eligible Business Types
To support a compelling mix of retail, restaurant, and cultural tenants for the Central Business District, certain business and tenant types will be given priority:
  • Retail, restaurant, and cultural establishments (such as movie theaters and live music performance venues) with both daytime and evening operating hours.
  • Arts related businesses
  • Bookstore / music store
  • Quality apparel / shoes / accessories
  • Sporting goods / active lifestyle
  • Drugstore or pharmacy
  • Convenience market / sundries
  • Home goods, accessories, furniture
  • General merchandise stores
  • Small variety and specialty stores
  • Pet store
  • Food related ventures such as grocery stores, restaurants, coffee/tea shops, ice-cream parlor, bakeries, produce markets, butcher, health food stores and other specialty food operations

Fill out the form below or download the PDF on the right. For questions, please contact Leslie Pinson at 574-968-7291 or email


The Applicant certifies that all information in this application and all information furnished in support of this application, given for the purpose of obtaining an Interior Improvement Grant under the DTSB (Downtown South Bend) Interior Improvement Grant Program are true and complete to the best of the Applicant’s knowledge and belief.

Applicant Information

Building Information

 Please provide the following attachments: 

  1. Itemized scope of work 
  2. Project estimate(s) from at least two licensed contractors 
  3. A completed DTSB Contractor Pre-qualification Review Form for each contractor 
  4. The executive summary of your business plan 
  5. A copy of your lease agreement or letter of intent 

Your application will not be considered if any of the attachments are missing.

Files must be less than 15 MB.
Allowed file types: txt rtf html odf pdf doc docx ppt pptx xls xlsx xml bz2 dmg gz jar rar sit tar zip.

Project Cost


(Based on Tier 1 or Tier 2 amount per square foot per lease year up to maximum grant of $5,000)

Project Schedule

In order to receive reimbursement your projects must be completed within 60-days. Projects begun after 10/15/18 must be completed no later than 12/14/18.